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RE: Collapsing foam media

Richard Sexton asked me to elaborate on the "media collapse" I've frequently
seen with Fluval Internal power filters.

>I replaced it with a fluval 2 internal, and have used the polyester
>mesh/carbon pads. They seem to last almsot a year before they collapse.

>Fluval has just discontinued the single packs of these and they are
>available at a discount at the LFS. I switched to the blue foam
>thingy which seemed tobe fairly useless as a filter media, the
>polyester ones were musg mush better, but as I said, collapsed over time.

>So, now I have an old polyester one *over* a blue foam thingy. Are
>you saying, James, that the blue foam thingys collapse? I have 20 year
>old tetra sponges that are still viable...

>This is all probably more microanalysis that 6 neons warrent, BTW.

Richard, never let it be said that we aren't through on this list. We can
argue over details for days! But Neons are God's creatures too, and deserve
to be properly cared for, so here I go, expounding once again (and hopefully
finally), on Fluvals:

When I bought the Fluval Internal Filters that I have (I've got a couple of
#4's, and a couple of #2's), you could get either a blue foam cartridge or a
polyester mesh/carbon pad for them. Given the amount of carbon in those
pads, and how ratty the polyester mesh looked after a few months of being
washed out regularly (to remove the detritus build-up), I switched over to
the blue foam cartridges. If I want carbon filtration, I want carbon
filtration through a lot of carbon, not a dusting.

I found that while the units were great movers of water (I'm a big fan of
lots of circulation), and they did a good job of mechanical filtration, by
the time I got around to actually taking the unit out of the tank and
carrying it to the bathtub to be rinsed out, the once blue foam pad had
become totally sucked flat against the plastic wire mesh of the internal
support and was a dirty, scuzzy brown (all of the detritus which it had been
filtering out). Perhaps I left them go too long between cleanings. I know
that in the tanks I used them in, I usually had high fish loads and lots of
detritus that had to be handled. I usually waited until the water output
from the unit was noticeably constricted before cleaning them.

Since the foam was relatively cheap, perhaps I shouldn't have even tried to
save money by re-cycling the foam pads. But hey, I had to save money
somewhere - how else would I have been able to afford all of my Eheim
units???? (hahahaha, cheap shot I know. So shoot me!)

I'd venture to guess that there are many different qualities of "foam", some
are soft and pliable like the kind that Fluval uses (and at least back then,
sold). The Eheim foam is stiffer than that, and seems to me to be able to
stand up to getting loaded with detritus,  and repeated washing and rinsing
a bit better. But I do have to special order them, as most places no longer
carry them (the Eheim 2252 is quite possibly discontinued now, I'm not
sure). And I'm on almost a first name basis with the folks on the Special
Order desk at Pet Warehouse <g>.

But I have used the same foam cartridges on two of my four Eheim 2252's for
over 2 years and they are still as good as new (with regular rinsing under
the tap), and I have several spare boxes of replacements, so I figure I
won't have to look for an alternative for possibly the next 20 years.

James Purchase